Community Catalysts

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Engineering Unleashed Community Catalysts are members invested in driving forward the Engineering Unleashed mission, online and off.



Community Catalysts (ComCats for short) serve six-month terms. ComCats perform a variety of contributions for the Engineering Unleashed community, such as:


  • Provide informal peer review feedback to card authors.
  • Connect members who are working on similar topics.
  • Offer mentoring on the entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Collaborate on website enhancements.

Meet Cohort 10


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Dr. Ahmed Sayed

Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, EECS Dept., Milwaukee School of Engineering

Ahmed has broad experience in the biomedical engineering field with demonstrated history of working with many healthcare organizations. His professional focus areas in healthcare are facility management, technology management, operation, and accreditation support. Ahmed's PhD research focused on using ultrasound imaging to diagnose breast tumors. In his postdoctoral studies, he worked on developing novel digital visual aids for glaucoma and neuro-ophthalmology patients and tested their inventions at the #1 eye institute in the US. Currently, he is working on the design and implementation of ML algorithms to better diagnose breast tumors using MRI imaging methods. Ahmed gathers his practical knowledge and hands-on experience to add entrepreneurial mindset to all his courses, considering the 3Cs as an integral part of his courses and teaching style.



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Dr. Brian Woods

Assistant Professor, Saint Louis University

Taking Organic Chemistry as a sophomore in college is what hooked Brian on chemistry in the first place. He loved how the class was like putting together pieces of a puzzle and trying to find different pathways to solve difficult problems. As a professor, the best part of his job is seeing students appreciate the wonder of organic chemistry in both the classroom and research setting. Organic chemistry often gets labeled as a “weed-out” course, as it is the last required chemistry course for a number of majors. One of Brian's goals in teaching the course is to change that reputation. He makes a point to assure all his students that they have the ability to succeed in the course and that it’s his job to help them do just that.



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Dr. Devina Jaiswal

Assistant Professor, Western New England University

During her time as a graduate student, Devina worked in a bone tissue engineering laboratory; this experience became the building block for her research goals. Later, she completed her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2017. During her Ph.D., she worked on creating nano and micro devices that could interact with micro-tissue and cells. Devina has a keen interest in best practices in education system, and has created several problems based, active learning EM modules for lecture based courses to enhance student learning. Her research interests lie in fabrication of micro-electronic devices that can be used to understand biological patterns and apply them to the field of tissue engineering.



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Dr. Ekundayo Shittu

Associate Professor, The George Washington University

Dayo's research interests in technology management and economics of renewable energy focus on the interplay between public policy, competition, and energy technology investments. He is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS), International Council of Systems Engineers (INCOSE), Industry Studies Association (ISA), and Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE). Dayo was a Lead Author on Chapter 2, “Integrated Risk and Uncertainty Assessment of Climate Change Response Policies,” of Working Group III to the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He coauthored "Renewable Energy: International Perspectives on Sustainability (Springer)."



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Dr. Eric Meyer

Associate Professor, Lawrence Technological University

As Director of the Experimental Biomechanics Laboratory at LTU, Eric's goal is to advance experimental biomechanics understanding by providing practical training to engineering, life science and medical students and advancing the boundary of knowledge through translational research. Eric has developed EML course modules in BME and a unique multidisciplinary “Wearable Technology Studio” course.



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Dr. Khaled Adjerid

Professor, Tulane University

Khaled's background is in fluids, materials, and biomechanics. He has an interest in biomedical device design, bioinspiration, and biomimetics centering around fluid control and fluid flow characterization. He is investigating the role of sensory stimulation on the control of swallowing in preterm infants. His work aims to identify and alleviate issues associated with neurological deficits in fragile populations. Previously he studied fluid structure interactions in other natural systems as inspiration for novel biomaterials and devices.



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Dr. Maria Kyrarini

Assistant Professor and David Packard Jr. Faculty Fellow, Santa Clara University

Prior to SCU, Maria was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at Arlington under the advisement of Professor Dr. Fillia Makedon. She also served as the assistant director of the Heracleia Human-Centered Computing Lab. In 2019, Maria received her Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Bremen under the supervision of Professor Dr.-Eng. Axel Gräser. The title of her Ph.D. thesis is: "Robot learning from human demonstrations for human-robot synergy". Before that, she received her M.Eng. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering and her M.Sc. degree in Automation Systems both from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Her primary research interests are in the fields of Robot Learning from Human Demonstrations, Human-Robot Interaction, and Assistive Robotics with a special focus on enhancing Human Performance.



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Dr. Mark Budnik

Teaching Professor, Carnegie Mellon University

Mark's research lies at the intersection of robust engineering design and engineering pedagogy. He has served as the general/program chair for three different international conferences including those with the IEEE and the American Society for Engineering Education. Prior to joining the academic ranks in 2006, he was an Engineering Director at Hitachi Semiconductor where he led a multidisciplinary team of engineering and support staff. He is the author of more than nearly a hundred book chapters, journal articles, and conference proceedings and the recipient of thirteen teaching awards and six best paper/presentation awards. Mark is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a Fellow of the International Symposium of Quality Electronic Design.



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Dr. Melissa Montalbo-Lomboy

Lecturer, Rowan University

Melissa currently teaches in the Experiential Engineering Education Department at Rowan University. Her research interests are topics related to biofuel, biorenewable energy, life cycle assessment, bioplastics, biocomposites, biocementation, ultrasonics and algae biofuel. She's also interested in developing experiential learning and creating flipped classrooms. Melissa's teaching objective is to prepare, mentor and guide students to become successful engineers and problem solvers of the future.



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Dr. Michelle Marincel Payne

Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Michelle co-leads a project to infuse an entrepreneurial-mindset in undergraduate research, a project to improve teaming by teaching psychological safety in engineering education curricula, and a project to use storytelling to help students connect, communicate, and find their purpose. She also enjoys working with undergraduate researchers to investigate how engineered wetlands remove stormwater pollutants and to prototype a biosand filter system for developing communities. Michelle has worked to integrate open-ended problems in the civil engineering curriculum and has developed a course for students to experience designing appropriate technology with strong emphasis on social sustainability. She is a current NSF ASCEND Fellow, was a 2018 ExCEEd Fellow, and was recognized as the 2019 ASCE Daniel V. Terrell Awardee.



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Dr. Neil Petroff

Associate Professor and Department Head, Tarleton State University

Neil received a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 2006, and then served a post-doctoral position in the hand rehabilitation lab at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now Shirley Ryan AbilityLab) for one year. In all, Neil has 10+ years of industrial experience in steelmaking and processing and hip implant development. In 2013, he switched to academia, joining Purdue Polytechnic South Bend as an adjunct and later as a visiting faculty. While at Tarleton State University, he works closely with the laboratory for wellness and motor behavior in the school of Kinesiology to develop smart devices for its clients. Neil's research interests are in physical medicine and rehabilitation and health and human performance. To support this goal, he started taking graduate courses in Kinesiology in summer 2023.



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Dr. Vedang Chauhan

Assistant Professor, Western New England University

Vedang Chauhan has more than 14 years of teaching and research experience. His area of research is development of machine vision, robotics and mechatronics systems for industrial automation. Vedang is passionate about teaching and enjoys learning and working with students.





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Dr. Yufeng Lu

ECE Department Chair, Bradley University

Yufeng has been teaching courses from 1st year courses to graduate level courses, including circuits, digital system, hardware/software co-design, signals and systems, communication theory, digital signal processing, and random variables. His interest and research area are in digital signal processing, System-on-a-Chip, controls and communication. Yufeng has been applying the 3Cs to his courses and EML to his projects. He finds it fascinating to see the personal and professional growth of students!